Have you ever walked into the garage feeling you are about to get overcharged for car parts that you don’t need? Well you are not alone.
With nearly 28 million cars going to the garage for MOT tests each year, new research by Confused dot com reveals drivers in the South East distrust the experts responsible for fixing their cars. In fact, car mechanics have been ranked one of Britain’s least trusted professions, with 86% of drivers in the region expecting them not to tell the truth.
Worryingly, almost one in three (30%) motorists feel like they have been ripped off by a mechanic and overcharged by £243, on average, with more than one in eight (13%) being pressured into buying parts they do not need.
To uncover some of the murky tricks of the trade, Confused dot com has teamed up with a trustworthy mechanic in a film alerting drivers to the infamous rip-off tactics they should look out for when they visit a garage. The driver savings site has also created a go-to guide with advice on how to avoid getting overcharged and how much drivers should expect to pay for some of the most common repairs.
Drivers can’t be blamed for being cautious with repairs already costing hundreds of pounds. In fact, Confused dot com’s garage comparison service reviewed the average cost of the most common vehicle repairs in the South East, and found drivers could be set back by a hefty sum in most cases. At the cheaper end of the scale, a full service will set drivers back by £171 on average, while a head gasket change could cost them a pricey £558 on average3.
However, it isn’t just motorists in the South East who are feeling singled out by dodgy mechanics. In fact, drivers all across the UK say they have been a victim of underhand tactics. And female drivers are seemingly more affected, with almost two in five (39%) worrying they will be ripped off by a mechanic, compared to just over a quarter (27%) of male driver. Furthermore, almost two thirds (62%) of women motorists believe they are treated differently to men when they take their car to the garage because of their sex. In fact, over half (55%) of women think mechanics believe that female drivers don’t know much about cars.
Regardless of gender, it seems many drivers resent a trip to the garage, with more than one in five (21%) UK motorists admitting it makes them feel anxious and uneasy. One in seven (14%) admit they have been thrown by the jargon and didn’t understand all of the technical language the mechanic was using. So it’s no wonder only one in 10 (10%) drivers would feel confident enough to challenge a mechanic.
Worryingly, these dodgy tactics have put drivers off taking their car in for potentially crucial repairs. In fact, one in seven (14%) admit they have deliberately avoided taking their car into a garage to repair faults. And some drivers will go as far as taking matters into their own hands, with almost one in 10 (8%) saying they try to carry out basic repairs themselves to try and avoid forking out hefty sums. Impressively, almost half (45%) of drivers claim to know how to change their own tyre, which would save them a few quid, but only one in seven (15%) would know how to change their own brake pads.
Some drivers go a step further to avoid taking their car to the garage and to cut down on potential costs by taking to the internet to work out what is wrong with their car (14%). But only a tenth (10%) were savvy enough to visit more than one garage to compare costs.